The design industry is set to benefit from measures put forward in Chancellor Gordon Brown’s Budget last week, which seek to increase the contribution design can make to productivity growth.
The Design Council, which has lobbied extensively to put design on the Government’s agenda, hails the Budget as a ‘big day for design’. It is one of the first times that the Government has linked design to economic strategy, recognising its importance for UK businesses.
The Design Council is tasked with implementing many of the core proposals, including carrying out a Government review of how design can best boost productivity across UK manufacturing companies. It will investigate the relationship between design, SME’s and university departments.
The initiative is being led by George Cox, the council’s chairman, who will report findings and recommendations to the Chancellor by the 2005 pre-Budget. ‘The challenge is not to analyse, but to come up with practical solutions,’ says Cox.
The Chancellor has also announced the national roll-out of the Design Council’s Design Immersion Programme through the regional development agencies. It promotes the effective use of design across businesses.
The Design Council will oversee a three-year programme throughout the North. Chief executive David Kester says, ‘It is very likely that we will be working with other regions, and we will go as fast as we can.’
The Department of Trade and Industry is launching a study of the value of design for businesses, to help companies identify how creativity can improve performance. There are also plans to establish a design centre in Newcastle Gateshead, as part of the £100m Northern Way growth strategy.
The institution, scheduled to open in 2007, is intended to establish the North East as a world leader in design.
An architect is yet to be appointed for the project.